(Morning Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 15 May)
Let us pause and remember we are in God’s holy presence….
While I’ve always loved the month of May, each year it comes with mixed feelings and emotions. On one hand summer is approaching. The warm weather starts to taunt us in the classroom, leading to incessant day-dreaming of afternoons at the beach and refreshing Del’s lemonade. On the other hand, the school year is ending. We don’t get to wake up every week day to spend over six hours with our friends and the adults who nurture our minds. For the seniors, this May is even tougher. Our entire high school career is ending, and we’re moving on to new places and new experiences.
We constantly do this; categorize events and periods of time into beginnings, middles and ends. Most of us compartmentalize our lives into eras, recalling them fondly, but then moving on to where we are, and where we plan to go. While beginnings are usually happier and more optimistic than endings, I prefer to see this time as neither. Not an ending to this year or high school, nor a beginning to a season or new adult life. I believe that if we have learned nothing else here at the Academy, we should know that our lives, and who we are, are not defined by solitary events with beginnings and endings, but rather the continuous journey we’re travelling, finding ourselves and who we’re meant to be
St. John Baptist de La Salle had a beginning and end to his life. However, our being here, surrounded by the teachers and administrators who continuously nurture and form us are proof that there are no beginnings or endings, just a constant calling to do what it is God calls us to do. Though De La Salle began this wonderful ministry, it did not all happen overnight. His life consisted of many twists and turns leading him to find his calling, the calling that allows us all to be here today. Going to school and the seminary, facing obstacles within his own family, travelling, meeting new people; all of these experiences led to the opening of his schools. His journey came to him piece by piece, much like the education we’ve received at La Salle.
We could not learn all the information our teachers have to offer us in a day, a month, or even a year, because each bit of knowledge also comes with a feeling and experience. A different perspective of what it means, and how we can use it.
Lessons like service, acceptance, and solidarity are instilled in us here at La Salle, but at different points in our high school careers, they mean very different things. As an underclassman service might mean donating five dollars to dress down, but as you get more involved in La Salle and its groups and opportunities service could mean going out with Lasallian Youth to a soup kitchen, day care center, or nursing home. You might think acceptance is simply welcoming a transfer student sophomore or junior year, until you attend “the event,” run by the diversity committee, and realize what beautiful and varying cultures make up our school. And solidarity is something La Salle constantly challenges us with. From standing together at Mass, supporting each other in athletics through the “Beehive,” or uniting ourselves with victims of tragedy such as the Boston marathon bombings, or earthquakes in Haiti, La Salle teaches us what it means to be human and Christian, through events from our past, present, and our goals for the future.
Whether you’re a senior, freshman, or PEGASUS student, you’ve already studied numerous subjects, and had unforgettable experiences inside and outside of the classroom. However, no one of those events could tell you who you are or what you’re meant to do. Any one moment, conversation, or experience could change the course of our lives forever. But does this mean that we throw away everything we’ve come to learn up until that point? Of course not. Finding our vocation doesn’t mark the beginning of our lives or the end of anything that came before it. It is simply another experience that is collectively forming us into who and what we are meant to be. As Ernest Hemingway said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” We will always have goals and aspirations to work towards and achieve, but no one of them completely validates or defines us as a human being. We will be more than the sum of our experiences. Like De La Salle, we will be individuals who have left our mark on the world by accepting the challenges we faced, and doing the work God called us to do.
I recently received a wonderful tidbit of wisdom from a classmate of mine. He said,“This is only one chapter. One chapter, and there are so many more to come”
Let us pray. Dear God, on this Founder’s Day, thank you for your servant, St. John Baptist de La Salle, for giving us the opportunity to experience this chapter of our lives here at La Salle Academy. Help us accept the challenge to find our callings, but never forget where we came from or what we’ve learned along the way. Guide us throughout our continuous journey to find who it is you want us to be.
St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Samantha King (Class of 2014)
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
A fine quotation indeed, but Ursula K. Le Guin’s, not Hemingway’s.